White team wins JU spring game, 23-14

March 1, 2008

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Behind a quick strike offensive attack and strong defensive performance, the White team won the annual JU "Green & White" spring game, 23-14, on Saturday afternoon at D.B. Milne Field.

Erik Stepelton stole the show on offense, throwing for 141 yards and one touchdown on 10-of-15 passing. Wide receiver Geavon Tribble caught four passes for 101 yards and one touchdown, a 64-yard hookup with Stepelton.

Jimmy Sapp showed out at running back for the White team, scoring two rushing touchdowns and rushing for 120 yards on 18 carries. Ron Harris was the leading rusher for the Green team, picking up 70 yards on 15 carries.

"There were a lot of positives to come out of this for us and it was a good way for us to wrap up spring camp," said JU head coach Kerwin Bell. "We know what these guys can do on the field, now we want to see how hard they are going to work in the weight room in the next six months before we start fall camp.

"We need to be bigger, faster and stronger that we are right now for us to compete for a conference championship this fall."

The defense also showed flashes of brilliance as well, recording a safety on a sack by Aaron Frye. Frye finished the game with three sacks as the defense combined to rack up six sacks in the game.

"I liked how our defense came out ready to hit today," Bell said. "We've put an emphasis on hitting this spring and it showed today as the defensive guys made sure their presence was felt."

The annual intersquad game pitted the two teams drafted on Friday afternoon and started with the Green team capitalizing on the first turnover of the game.

After a Sam Bell fumbled a reception on the first play for the White team, Jeremy Thornton hooked up with Elliott Finkley on a 30-yard touchdown pass less than two minutes into the game.

The White team answered with a touchdown drive of their own, taking advantage of a busted play. Facing a fourth-and-1 at the Green 38-yard line, Stepelton lined up in the shotgun and the center snapped it to him while he wasn't looking.

Stepelton quickly pitched the ball to running back Jimmy Sapp who took off down the sideline and was run out of bounds at the 3-yard line. He would score two plays later from a yard out to tie the game.

After pinning the Green team deep in its own territory, the White defense flexed its muscles, as Frye sacked Spencer Endsley in the end zone on the final play of the first quarter for a safety to take a 9-7 lead.

The White team extended the lead on its final possession of the first half as Stepelton hooked up with Tribble on the 64-yard scoring toss to take a 16-7 lead at the half.

The Green team didn't go away easily though. Michael Clifton came on in relief in the final drive of the third quarter, taking the team 85 yards - completing 3-of-3 on the drive, including a 35-yard scoring toss to Melvin Sumter to cut the deficit to two, 16-14, with 54 seconds left in the third.

But the White defense was relentless in the fourth quarter, picking off two passes, one by Will Perry and the other by Michael Henzie to seal the win. They put the game out of reach with 1:25 left in the game as Sapp scored on an 18-yard run.

In the battle for the starting quarterback job, Stepelton stood out over the competition. Jonathan Jones was 4-of-9 for 23 yards in splitting time with Stepelton on the White squad.

Jeremy Thornton was 9-of-21 for 124 yards with one touchdown and one interception in starting for the Green team. Clifton was 3-of-5 passing for 76 yards with one touchdown and one interception in working late for the Green team.

The Dolphins will be in the weight room working out the rest of the semester as they prepare for the 2008 season. Fall camp will begin the first week of August.


SCHEDULE IN PROGRESS: While spring practice is over, the schedule for the fall is still being worked on as the administration irons out some final details. As of right now, the biggest non-conference game in school history is set for Sept. 8 as the Dolphins will travel to face three-time defending Football Championship Subdivision champion Appalachian State. Homecoming is set for Sept. 13, which will double as the home opener against Campbell.